PQ: Family Reunification Applications

Thu, December 17, 2015

373. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a carer’s allowance and a domiciliary carer’s allowance will be taken into consideration for the purposes of calculating a sponsor’s income for an application for a visa pursuant to the policy document on non-European Economic Area family reunification.

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the position on such applications is set out in the Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification published by my predecessor on 31 December 2013.

In general, the sponsor must be in a position to support family members wishing to reside in Ireland without undue reliance on benefits from the Irish State. Minimum levels of earnings have been established for eligibility as a sponsor. These levels have been established at a cumulative gross total of €40,000 over a three year period where the sponsor is an Irish citizen. Where the sponsor is an non-EEA citizen the level is set at the minimum salary for which an employment permit would issue, i.e. €30,000 per annum. This income level must have been achieved in each of the two years prior to the application. Social welfare payments are not reckonable as earnings for this purpose.

The State cannot be regarded as having an obligation to subsidise family members if they are to be permitted to come to Ireland. A person who is unable to support her/himself cannot expect the State to assume the necessary financial obligations on his/her behalf.

Declared and verified savings by the applicant may be taken into account in assessing cases which fall short of the income threshold.

The financial capacity is just one of the conditions that is considered when making a determination on a family reunification application and the circumstances of the parties concerned are considered in the round on a case by case basis.